Sarawak vs Petronas: Trial will open Pandora’s box

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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KUCHING, Dec 8: Pakatan Harapan federal government should respect Sarawak laws and advised Petronas to accede to the enforcement of the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products.

Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) challenging the Sarawak government’s lawsuit will open the Pandora’s box of constitutional and legal questions of the federal and state relationship.

It would also open a new chapter of the federal government and Sarawak relationship vis-à-vis the the federal Constitution, the emergency laws and the far-reaching implication and constitutional safeguards provided in it, he added.

“I knew Petronas will not let go just like that. They have the Pakatan Harapan government behind them. If the Pakatan government is prepared to respect the state law, it would have advised the Petronas to accede to the enforcement of Sarawak five per cent sales tax.

“This goes to show that the real Pakatan government stand on the petroleum royalty to Sarawak, whatever their manifesto or leaders say,” Wan Junaidi said in a statement.

He was responding to Petronas filing a statement of defence to challenge the suit by Sarawak government over non-payment of the state sales tax on petroleum products.

According to Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring), Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Petronas responded to the suit with filing an entry of appearance and a statement of defence late evening Friday (Dec 6).

Following the court showdown once a trial date has been fixed, Wan Junaidi said there is no need for the Pakatan government to talk about the 20 per cent oil royalty as promised by Pakatan leaders such as its Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen and other federal government mouthpieces in the state, since Petronas was not even willing to accede to the five per cent sales tax.

“We will also see whether the promises ‘aeon’ ago in 1962 and 1963 of a just and fair relationship between Malaya and Sarawak, will run through the veins of the judiciary in interpreting the constitutional safeguards,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said this case will determine the future of Sarawak and it is time to tell the administration in Putrajaya not to let the old wound bleed again.

“Tell Petronas that they have been had a good time all these times, they have grown rich and powerful because of our resources. One way or the other, we will recover our resources from them,” he said. — DayakDaily